Journal of Ecosystem and Ecography is an international open access journal publishing the quality peer-reviewed research articles relevant to the field of Environmental Sciences. The journal selects the articles to be published with a single bind, peer review system, following the practices of good scholarly journals. It supports the open access policy of making scientific research accessible to one and all.
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Eutrophication (from Greek eutrophos, "well-nourished"), or hypertrophication, is when a body of water becomes overly enriched with minerals and nutrients which induce excessive growth of algae. This process may result in oxygen depletion of the water body. One example is an "algal bloom" or great increase of phytoplankton in a sandy body as a response to increased levels of nutrients. Eutrophication is often induced by the discharge of nitrate or phosphate-containing detergents, fertilizers, or sewage into an aquatic system.
Eutrophication most commonly arises from the oversupply of nutrients, most commonly as nitrogen or phosphorus, which leads to overgrowth of plants and algae in aquatic ecosystems. After such organisms die, bacterial degradation of their biomass results in oxygen consumption, thereby creating the state of hypoxia.
According to Ullmann's Encyclopedia, "the primary limiting factor for eutrophication is phosphate." The availability of phosphorus generally promotes excessive plant growth and decay, favouring simple algae and plankton over other more complicated plants, and causes a severe reduction in water quality. Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient for plants to live, and is the limiting factor for plant growth in many freshwater ecosystems. Phosphate adheres tightly to soil, so it is mainly transported by erosion. Once translocated to lakes, the extraction of phosphate into water is slow, hence the difficulty of reversing the effects of eutrophication. However, numerous literature reports that nitrogen is the primary limiting nutrient for the accumulation of algal biomass.
The sources of these excess phosphates are phosphates in detergent, industrial/domestic run-offs, and fertilizers. With the phasing out of phosphate-containing detergents in the 1970s, industrial/domestic run-off and agriculture have emerged as the dominant contributors to eutrophication.
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Journal of Ecosystem and Ecography